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Weekend Rundown

The weekend is upon us and we have a busy weekend. Plenty going on across Southwestern Montana, please use caution if you are headed to the hills.

Friday, July 16th

2nd Annual Madison Ultra Up/Down By definition, an Ultra is any race longer than 26.2 miles or 42 kilometers. Most Ultras are either nice round numbers such as 50K, 100K, 50 Miles, 100 Miles and even 24 hours, or they are a specific distance between two points, e.g. the Badwater Ultra is 135 miles which is the distance from the lowest point in Death Valley to the highest point (original route) at Mount Whitney in the contiguous United States.

That's most Ultras - a nice round number or a specific distance between two unique and iconic spots on a map. Because Montana is so awesome and has so much fantastic public land (Thank you again, Teddy Roosevelt!), we are doubly blessed. We are doing both in one route and in two directions.

One start/finish line is on the banks of the Madison River and one start/finish line is at Monument Ridge on top of the Gravelly Range.

The Madison River is already famous among fly fishing aficionados. It's a blue ribbon trout stream. This means it's a fast flowing, cold water, not too deep, high elevation river with incredible rainbow, brown, and cut throat trout. People from around the world come to Southwest Montana for the sole purpose of casting a dry fly onto its waters.

Monument Ridge is the highest point on the Gravelly Range Road. It is 9,587 feet above the oceans. When all the ups and downs are calculated, it's about 6,000 net vertical feet above the Madison River.

Here's the cool part. The road distance between the banks of the Madison River and Monument Ridge?

50 kilometers.

So you have a choice. A 50K uphill that starts on the cool, calming and tranquil waters of the Madison River and finishes at Monument Ridge, or a 50K downhill that starts at 9,587 feet and offers view sheds where you can see 100 miles on a clear day and finishes on the banks of the Madison River.

How cool is that?

Choose wisely. The route, obviously in either direction, is entirely on a decent quality gravel road. A regular car can travel on this road. In no way are these trail Ultras. There is basically no flat ground on the entire route. It's either leaning or crazily going uphill or downhill. If you're an Upper, there will be some downhill stretches, but not too many over the 50K. If you're a Downer the same thing holds in reverse. According to Garmin data collected from the Tour de Gravelly which covers the same route, the net gain/loss from the Madison River to Monument Ridge is 6,061 feet. That's a shitload of net gain/loss over 50K on a road.

If you've never done an Ultra before, here's your chance. Sometimes you gotta say WTF. We've never been an RD for an Ultra and we’re saying WTF to two of 'em!

Just those three words sound cool. They're even cooler sounding when you can add "and it had a 6,000 foot net loss on the route."

Katabatic Brewery and Tim Rooney 5 Pm to 7 PM The Bale of Hay Saloon, Virginia City. Katabatic Brewery and Tim Rooney, pouring beers & playing music!

LIVE MUSIC w/ Frank Keyes 5:30 to 7:30 PM at Willie's Distillery. We have tasty cocktails, a rustic atmosphere, and great music. What more can you ask for on a Friday night? Join us for live music by Frank Keyes.

Willy James at Rocky's Roadhouse 6 to 9 PM Bring your family and friends on down to Rocky’s Roadhouse. Get some stellar food and listen to some Local Tunes

Ryan Chrys & The Rough Cuts in the Ruby Valley 6 to 9 PM Join us for an outside show at the Star Bakery Restaurant. free

Modern outlaw country from Denver, CO. Currently on tour promoting their album, Western Abyss. Nominated in the 2018 Ameripolitan Music Awards for “Best Outlaw Group.” Praised for their songwriting and known for their love of old country and blazing guitars. They’ve shared the stage with Dwight Yoakam, Blackberry Smoke, Shooter Jennings, The Marshall Tucker Band, Junior Brown and more

Dalton Lemburg LIVE at The Peat Bar starts at 7 PM Check out The Peat Bar in Lima, MT for some live music and great food and drink at an awesome venue!

Raptors of the Region starts at 8 Pm This presentation will cover general characteristics and behaviors of diurnal and nocturnal raptors of Montana. A closer examination of a few 'more common' species will be used to further one's observation and identification skills as well as your appreciation of birds of prey. Education materials from the Raptor Center will be used, and references for further study will be provided.

This is the eighth presentation in Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park’s annual Friday Summer Speakers Series, which introduces a new speaker each Friday at 8 p.m. throughout the summer.

Speaker bio – Mary Maj:

Montana State University provided my undergraduate and graduate education in Fish and Wildlife Management. The Forest Service provided 35 years of employment, serving as a district biologist, regional threatened, endangered and sensitive species biologist, and ending as a district ranger. Yellowstone National Park and the 6 National Forests of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem were the stage of my work, experiences and expertise. "I love birding, and the larger the bird, the more adept I was at identifying, surveying, monitoring and getting people to pay attention to them."

Side one: Space Jam: A New Legacy Rated PG Runtime 2 hr 0 min

Side Two: Black Widow Rated PG-13 Runtime 2 hr 13 min

Gates open at 8:30 pm. Shows start at dusk (about 9:30 pm)

Tickets are $6 ages four and up. Ages three and under are free. Cash only

Saturday, July 17th

HORSE PRAIRIE FENCE PULL Join Montana BHA members for a boots-on-the-ground stewardship project to help improve pronghorn migration corridors and sage-grouse habitat in southwest Montana.

We'll be removing a portion of a 3-mile stretch of woven fence along a BLM/private land boundary to allow for the construction of an entirely new, wildlife-friendly fence. This area is critical sage-grouse habitat and an important pronghorn migration corridor, meaning we'll be improving two huntable critters' habitat with these efforts. The project is a collaboration with private landowners, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Wildlife Federation and the Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

Since BHA members are no strangers to getting away from roads, our task will be to focus on the more remote and difficult-to-access sections of the fence ranging from one to two miles from motorized routes.

The West Cameahwait Group Use Area at Clark Canyon Reservoir (the meeting place) has been reserved for BHA volunteers to camp the nights of July 16th and 17th. Montana BHA will be providing dinner for folks Saturday night. Volunteers are welcome to arrive the morning of and not camp as well but need to be ready to go bright and early. All volunteers will meet at this campsite at 7:30am on the 17th.

No running water is available. Volunteers will need to come prepared with at least 2 liters of drinking water for the workday, their own meals (besides dinner Saturday night), work gloves, sunglasses or safety glasses, and proper hiking boots.

This is difficult work and mid July is likely to be hot and sunny out, so volunteers must be prepared.

We'll be meeting at 7:30am to get an early start on the project with hopes of wrapping up in the early afternoon before the hottest part of the day.

Due to the nature of the work, children and dogs are not allowed.

Please RSVP or reach out to us with any questions:

Choice Aviation Air Fair 2021 The Choice Aviation Air Fair is back!

Come join us at the Ennis-Big Sky Airport for our free community event! Enjoy all things aviation including our FREE breakfast and FREE aircraft rides (ages 8-17)! See you July 17th at 7:00AM!

Maverick Mountain 3-D Archery tournament Come join us for a fun filled weekend of 3-D archery at the Maverick Mountain Ski Area. See video below for more information.

Bannack Days 2021 Bannack Days 2021 will be held at Bannack State Park, just minutes from Countryside, on July 17 & 18 this year. We still have a few spaces available if you want to join in on the fun!

26th Annual Madison River Run (a.k.a. Water to Whiskey 5K) The clock is ticking for a fantastic weekend of summer in Ennis, Montana. The 26th Annual Madison River Run, a.k.a. The Water to Whiskey 5K is on.

We're good to go for Saturday, July 17 at 10:00 AM. Check in and race day signup is from 8:30 to 9:30 AM. Please signup online if you can to guarantee yourself a spot.

For many years, the Madison River Run was a local fun run that generally attracted 50 to 60 runners from Madison County and the rest of Southwest Montana. It is still a local fun run and it still attracts runners from Southwest Montana, but this is just the beginning.

We have a new cool tag line name - the Water to Whiskey 5K - to reflect the Greater Yellowstone Adventure Series (GYAS) collaboration with Willies Distillery. For this 26th running of the event, we will start on the waters of the Madison and finish as close as possible to the tasting room of Willies Distillery. We got runners from all across the country coming to this one.

Here’s a chance to do a 5K, take part in a community event, and taste some of Montana’s finest spirits at Willies Distillery and also grab a burger at the G Bar in downtown Ennis. The rest of Main Street is open for business. After that, you can fly fish the Madison, one of the best blue ribbon trout streams in the USA or make a day trip to Yellowstone.

Strollers, walkers, kids, and all are completely welcome. It’s a fantastic way to spend a weekend in Southwest Montana.

Brewfest featuring Milton Menasco and the Big Fiasco The Brewfest starts at noon and goes until the kegs run dry! Milton Menasco and the Big Fiasco will play from 12:30 - 2:00 and from 3:30 - 5:00.

Steve Rose & The Buffalo Nickel Band starts at 5 PM at The Star Bakery in Nevada city MT.

Willy James at Pioneer Bar starts at 7 PM Come join the joy

Willy will be performing from his 700+ originals and 6+ hours of renditions.

Sunday, July 18th

Maverick Mountain 3-D Archery tournament Come join us for a fun filled weekend of 3-D archery at the Maverick Mountain Ski Area.

Bannack Days 2021 Bannack Days 2021 will be held at Bannack State Park, just minutes from Countryside, on July 17 & 18 this year. We still have a few spaces available if you want to join in on the fun!

Afternoon Melodies @ The Star Restaurant with Willy James starts at 11 AM Bring the whole family and enjoy a afternoon of Music by yours truly!

Fan Mountain Frog Dogs @ Burnt Tree Brewery This Sunday @ 5 pm at Burnt Tree Brewery, Main St Ennis.

5th Annual Tour de Gravelly Montana's newest and coolest gravel road cycling race. The net gain on this route is over 6,000 feet. That's one incredible uphill. The net drop is over 4,800 feet so after a huge uphill you get a white-knuckle downhill.

Get ready for a cycling adventure of a lifetime.

There are a choice of two routes for the Tour de Gravelly. These are ‘The Beast’ which is the original route of the first three years, and ‘The Animal’ which is about 20 miles shorter than the original but also goes up and over the Gravelly Range Road. Both races start at the same time and at the same place (6:30 AM at Lion’s Club Park in Ennis). Both races have the same finish line (Vigilante Station in the Ruby Valley). The routes are the same for the first 28 or so miles. The net elevation gain for The Beast is just over 6,000 feet. The net gain for The Animal is probably closer to 5,000 feet net gain though this has not yet been adequately measured nor has the total mileage – 35 miles is an estimate at this time.

The Greater Yellowstone Adventure Series (GYAS) slogan lives up to its reputation with this race. It’s basically all uphill, and then there's one hell of a downhill. There will be water jugs at roughly five mile increments along the route. There will likely be huge gaps between yourself and other cyclists. There will be roving aid stations – volunteers in trucks – covering as much ground as possible, but we can’t be everywhere at the same time.

If you’re the type of cyclists that needs a very defined and detailed agenda as well as support crews, this might not yet be the race for you. We’re just in year four and are still working things out. But if you want to join the fun and break some new ground with us, please do. The more, the merrier. Someone has to go first and you will be more than welcome to be part of the group. The race packets have the details as well as a route map.

Suffice to say, this is a Bucket List kind of gravel road cycling race. Our vision is that it will be a national destination race. The route is just too damn beautiful and challenging for it not to be. Come see for yourself!

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